Archive for the jazz Category

Sun Ra and the hot chicks!

Posted in documents, jazz, Sun Ra with tags , , , , on June 15, 2014 by crownpropeller


A while ago while searching for hot girlie magazines Sun Ra related items on ebay I was surprised that the March 1969 issue of Swank magazine showed up in my search.

swank_cover

Sex and space music: “Swank”, March 1969

I have applied a little censorship to the mag’s front page here as this blog might be visited by minors. Also, the woman pictured on the cover might not be happy to see herself dressed that way again.

I bought the magazine because I was very much curious what space jazz master Sun Ra was doing in between the “Teen-Age Sex Queen Of Sweden” and “Love Potions And Aphrodisiacs!”.  Adding to my curiousity was the fact that being from March 1969 (the “Rolling Stone” with the Sun Ra cover shot of  was the April 1969 issue) this must be a quite early mention of Ra in an US-wide distributed non-specialist magazine. So what’s inside?

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Stan Getz in Lugano 1989

Posted in clips, jazz, Stan Getz with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2014 by crownpropeller

stanStan Getz in Lugano, 1989

 

Sometimes you just have to give up. Already a while ago I found in Ottos Flückiger’s collection a VHS cassette featuring about 45 minutes of Stan Getz’ appeareance at the Estival Jazz Lugano in 1989. Unfortunately picture and sound were absolutely out of synch. When I fixed the start of the sound to the start of the movie, it sounded quite right at first. But this went along well only for the first ten minutes. After that the pictures move slower than the sound, then suddenly they run faster again. Fixing this would just be too much work for me.

In the fine ten minute portion I could restore, you’ll hear and see Stan accompagnied by Kenny Barron (p), Yasuhito Mori (b) and Ben Riley (dr) playing Kenny Barron’s “Feijoada” (Thanks, Ehsan!). A Feijoada by the way is a very tasty thing, just ask any Brazilian.  I once had the pleasure to be invited to a Feijoada dinner – lots of stuff with a hearty taste! Unfortunately the theme reprise for this Feijoada here is missing, the sound goes totally out of synch before the tunes comes to its end, so I cut it off.

 

Enjoy!

 

Nina Simone at Jazzgipfel Stuttgart 1989

Posted in clips, Dizzy Gillespie, jazz, Nina Simone with tags , , , , , on May 30, 2014 by crownpropeller

ninaNina Simone in Stuttgart, 1989

Back in the late eighties I was working as a humper. Humpers are the people that carry equipment around before a gig. You might think that these people are called roadies, but then you are wrong. Roadies are the people that tell the humpers where to put the heavy things they are carrying around! The company I was working for did mostly rock concerts, but also some different festivals and shows.

In some summer in the late eighties we were doing some sort of city festival in Cologne and I was glad to see Nina Simone on the programme. But alas, Nina was in a very bad mood that day – and for a reason. They had relegated the great singer and pianist to a side stage. In fact she had to play on an upright piano placed on a truck! In front of nearly no-one! I remember her as being quite aggressive and stopping the concert after 20 minutes, she was really pissed. I understood that well, but I thought it was a pity just the same because the people that were there, were there for her.

Luckily I found some footage of Nina in a good mood on VHS cassettes in Otto Flückiger’s collection. The two clips I am presenting here come from the Jazzgipfel Stuttgart in 1989, so they might be from the same tour that the Cologne city Festival was part of.

 

Here is part 1:

Nina’s band members are on guitar Al Schackman, on bass Chris White and on drums Paul Robinson (thanks to Gerrit de Bruin for information!).

And here’s part 2. Watch Dizzy Gillespie give Nina some flowers at the end!

Enjoy!

Gil Scott-Heron: “Ohne Filter” – 58 minutes from German TV!

Posted in Gil Scott-Heron, jazz, Jazz Poetry with tags on May 11, 2014 by crownpropeller

No words this time, cause the man all has’em: nearly an hour of Gil Scott-Heron on German TV show “Ohne Filter” from march 1984 (from a VHS cassette in the Otto Flückiger collection):

 

Enjoy!

Milt Buckner Jam Session feat. Mario Schneeberger

Posted in jazz, Mario Schneeberger, Milt Buckner, Photographs with tags , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2014 by crownpropeller

Crown Propeller’s blog is proud to present rare memories of a jam session featuring Milt Buckner.

Pianist, organist and vibraphonist Milt Buckner (1915–1977) spent a large part of his later years in Europe, touring throughout the continent, often playing with local rhythm sections and happily allowing local players to sit in.

On one of his concerts which took place on January 4, 1977 at the Jazztone in Lörrach on the german side of the swiss-german border not far away from Basel, Buckner was joined by pianist Jules Plattner, bassist Rolf Winiger and drummer Georges Bernasconi– the last named having recorded with Buckner before. Joining the band for part of the evening was swiss alto saxophonist Mario Schneeberger.

milt-und-mario-5Rolf Winiger, Georges Bernasconi, Milt Buckner and Mario Schneeberger
at the Jazztone in Lörrach, January 4, 1977.
Otto Flückiger is sitting in the front row, turning his head.
Photographer unknown

Being a friend of Mario and a fan of Milt Buckner, the late swiss jazz researcher Otto Flückiger was at the Jazztone that night and recorded the event. Otto can be seen in the audience on some of the shots that were taken by an unidentified photographer. I am thankful to Mario for allowing me to publish tracks from that evening on which he himself is heard (excepting those which are of a not too good quality).
If you know who took the photographs in this post, please let me know, as I prefer to give proper credit. To enlarge the photographs, please click on them.

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Eddie Chamblee / Willene Barton / Dayton Selby

Posted in 33 rpm, Eddie Chamblee, jazz with tags , , , , , , , on May 11, 2014 by crownpropeller

A while ago I asked in this post whether someone could identify the two people standing next to Eddie Chamblee (left) on this photo:

chamblee_and_others_blog
Now identified: Eddie Chamblee, Dayton Selby, Alford “Al” Griffin,
probably early 1960s. Photographer still unidentified

But I got no responses. Now last friday I went to one of my favourite record shops in town to buy the May 2014 issue of british magazine Blues and Rhythm which carries the story of tenor saxophonist Willene Barton, written by R’n’B researcher Dan Kochakian.

barton_there_she_blows_lpOn alto for the cover: Gateway LP 15 from the collection of Armin Büttner.

I had acquired Barton’s LP “There She Blows” a while ago. I knew nothing about Barton then and bought the record purely for the cover. And there is not much about Barton on the Internet, so I was glad to see her featured in one of my favourite magazines. Dan Kochakian is well known for finding out a lot about obscure musicians from the past and if you are interested in Willene Barton, I’d suggest you get the new Blues and Rhythm. Dan’s story features a lot of unknown photographs of Willene Barton and tells a lot about how hard it was in the 1950s for a woman to be recognized as a fine saxophone player. What really got my heart beating faster though was that the picture at the top of this blog post was shown in the article with a caption telling, who these people are. The reason for this photo accompanying Dan’s article is that the man in the middle is organist Dayton Selby, in whose band Barton was playing for some time in the 1950s. On the right is drummer Alford “Al” Griffin who used to play with Milt Buckner for some time in the 1950s (see photo below).

trio_58_klein1Milt Buckner, Danny Turner and Alford Griffin, probably 1956
in Cleveland Ohio. From the Otto Flückiger Collection

 

Dan dated the photo of Chamblee, Selby and Griffin to “late 1950s”, but this is to be doubted, since exactly this “Dayton Selby Trio”, as Dan calls it, recorded the LP The Rockin’ Tenor Sax of Eddie Chamblee under Chamblee’s name on February 27, 1964. And I do not think that the band had been together for five years then. John D. Monroe in his liner notes to Prestige LP7321 calls this “Eddie’s new group”.

eddie_chamblee_lpPrestige LP7321 from the collection of Armin Büttner

 

So here is some music for your pleasure: First Willene Barton featured with the Dayton Selby Trio playing Barton’s Blues, recorded 1956 in Cincinnati and originally released on Gateway LP15 There She Blows:

 

Gateway was a budget label “selling to the masses”. So unfortunately the band never gets to stretch out and you can not really hear what Barton was able to do since everything runs under three minutes here and has the obligatory back beat (people say she was able to do a lot).

 

And here is the Chamblee/Selby/Griffin Trio playing George Gershwin’s Skang! in February 1964 as released on Prestige LP7321.

 

Since Prestige was a hardcore jazz label, everything is a little wilder here. And Chamblee is someone who should  be known among more people. If you ever heard three or four Chamblee solos in a row, you will recognize his sound forever: definitively out of Ben Webster, but highly individual, rooted in the blues but not afraid of modernism – and always with a touch of humor in his playing. If you are into mainstream jazz with an edge, you should try to get hold of his two LPs for Emarcy/Mercury.

Enjoy!

Marshall Allen / Kash Killion: “Two Stars In The Universe”

Posted in 33 rpm, Free Jazz, jazz, Marshall Allen, Sun Ra with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2014 by crownpropeller

SOME COPIES STILL AVAILABLE!

As vaguely announced at the end of this post, my friend Hubi and me along with sound engineer Dario went to Poschiavo in summer 2012 to see the Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Maestro Marshall Allen and make a recording of  Allen to be released on a limited edition vinyl LP.

Crown Propeller’s blog announces that this record, “Two Stars in The Universe”, featuring duets by Marshall Allen with masterful cellist, bolon/bolong and sarangi player Kash Killion, will now be released as Little Rocket Records LP001 on May 22nd!

So what does it sound like? Have a glimpse at our little  promotion video to get an idea:

Note though, that the sound on all video clips in this blog post is directly from the camera’s microphone. The LP sounds much better. A short mp3 excerpt from the original master can be had on request.

cover-goldLittle Rocket LP 001 will be released on May 22nd, 2014

So how did this come to happen? My friend Hubi  and me are long time devotees of that cosmic being called Sun Ra. And we both developed a deep love for the idiosyncratic sound of  alto saxophonist and now Arkestra leader Marshall Allen.

So when in spring of 2012 we heard that the Arkestra will be accompanying two theatrical productions during three days at the Uncool Festival  in Poschiavo (at the the south-eastern end of Switzerland), we had the idea to record Allen playing solo, since we wanted  to capture his sound pure and unaccompanied. Since we both are also what you would call vinyl junkies it was decided there and then that we will be trying to release a limited edition vinyl LP and found a little record company that will exist until the copies are sold out.

allen:killion_black_gold

Marshall Allen and Kash Killion in Poschiavo, June 21, 2012

We decided to try to reach Marshall via Cornelia Müller who runs the Uncool Festival. Finally a week before the Poschiavo event,  Marshall let us know through Cornelia that he was ready and willing. Cornelia promised to get a room organized for thursday, June 21. So Hubi, me and our engineer Dario on wednesday made the six hour car ride to see the Arkestra’s evening show and record Marshall the next day.

road

On the way to Poschiavo in the beautiful Poschiavo valley

I had become sick a day right before our trip and had a bad fever when we arrived in Poschiavo and were told by Cornelia that it was hard to organize a room and that maybe we should ask around the small village for a room to record in on the next morning. I thought: ok, this is the end of our little adventure, as I could not imagine knocking at unsuspecting people’s doors and asking them if we could maybe record some free jazz in there barn or their living room. Nonetheless I managed to enjoy the three hour Arkestra gig that evening. Marshall – at that time 88 years old – was blowing, directing the band, singing, dancing all evening through without ever sitting down for a minute – clearly music is his fuel. Excerpts from that concert can be found here.

marshall_on_stageMarshall Allen fronting the Arkestra in Poschiavo, June 20, 2012.

marshall_on_stage_2Marshall Allen on stage in Poschiavo, June 20, 2012.

I had a sleepless, fevery night and on the next morning Dario, our italian speaking and good looking sound engineer, talked a hotel maid into letting us use the Hotel’s diner room. But then on our way to breakfast we met Cornelia again who told us that she managed to get a room anyway and Marshall would be ready to meet us at 12 o’ clock.

 

spazioLo Spazio in Poschiavo

The room turned out to be Cornelia’s living room in her house and artists’ space “Lo Spazio”. The room had very beautiful acoustics – so we were happy. But then Marshall appeared and told us he really was not in the mood for playing solo since he needs (an)other person(s) to react to: “I am a band musician”. So this again sounded like the end of it – but we had the  idea to ask Marshall if there is someone in the band he’d like to record in a duo context with. Marshall said that yes, he’d like to record with Kash Killion who is playing cello with the Arkestra on and off since 1991. This sounded very promising to us, so we gathered some more cash together to be able to pay Kash something as well.

dario_allen

Sound engineer “Il Nuovo Presidente” Dario and Marshall Allen

We phoned Kash who was ready to come over from his hotel at once and brought along his cello, a Sarangi – the queen of indian instruments because it is so close to the human voice (Killion has studied  the instrument with the great indian master Ali Akbar Khan) – as well as a Bolong (also spelled Bolon) – a harp from west africa that also functions as a percussive instrument when you hit the neck and the gourd.

setting_upSetting up: Dario, Marshall Allen and Kash Killion in Poschiavo, June 21, 2012.

Marshall and Kash played beautiful improvised music for two and a half hours without ever talking about what to play next and visibly having fun all the while. We just sat there in awe not daring to interfere or make any suggestions like true producers are supposed to do (or are they?).

sessionOff we go: Marshall Allen and Kash Killion at the Little Rocket Records
recording session, Poschiavo, June 21, 2012.

Here’s a little view into the recording session, Marshall Allen on flute and Kash Killion on Sarangi playing an improvisation they later titled “India Reflections”:

happyIt’s done: Marshall Allen, Armin Büttner, Hubi Horst and Kash Killion,
Poschiavo, June 21, 2012.

¨allenkilliondarioAfter the session: Marshall Allen, Dario and Kash Killion

 Apart from choosing the tracks for release we did not do any editing or massive post production. We just choose complete tracks as Dario recorded all of this so perfectly – standing in a half bowed, body devastating position in front of the musicians all this time, a little digital recorder in his hands.

“Two Stars in The Universe” as the LP was titled by Marshall and Kash is a beautiful, surprisingly quiet and moody but also very joyful record of many colors. Besides alto saxophone and flute Marshall also plays one of those old small Casio keyboards. I always think he is channeling messages from Sun Ra with it. If you listen to his Casio playing on “Cosmic Blues-Life Of Two”: Hearing the rattling sound of it’s keys struck by Marshall, you’ll notice that he uses the same fluttering up and down hand movements  that he uses when producing the freaky alto sounds he is known for. Here is an excerpt from “Cosmo Blues-Life of Two”:

 

I had to be back at the office the next day, so we had to return. But after I told my girlfriend about the experience, she went down to Poschiavo for the last Arkestra show a day later. After the – again very long concert – Marshall and Kash Killion sat down stage front after most people had already left and played kora and bolon for a while. You can see again that they really enjoy playing together:


(Video courtesy of The Sun Ra Arkestra)

All 250 copies of the 180 gram vinyl  LP  “Two Stars In The Universe” have handprinted (silk-screened) covers. Some are printed in gold on black, some in silver, blue, or white, we think it came out very nice. Here is a little clip from the silk-screening process. Music for this video is an excerpt from an unreleased track, recorded with a photo camera after session for the LP had already ended.

silk_screenBeautifully designed (thanks, M.!!!) and freshly silk-screened

Unfortunately this did not make the thing cheap. This beauty will cost 35 Dollars (postage – which is high – not included). This will hopefully allow us to get back our expenses if nothing more.

The record will be officially released at the Arkestra concert in Zurich on May 22nd, Sun Ra’s 100th Arrival-on-Earth-Jubilee. Since there is no real distribution, the way to go is contact me directly if one wants to obtain a copy. Please use the comment section of this post to get in contact.

Enjoy!

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